CANADA STOCKS-TSX gains as energy shares rise along with oil

Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:29pm EDT
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* TSX up 59.06 points, or 0.38 percent, at 15,657.63

* Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups higher (Updates to close, adds analyst comment)

TORONTO/OTTAWA, March 29 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose modestly on Wednesday as a more than 2 percent increase in oil prices boosted shares of energy and resource companies.

A smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. crude inventories along with supply disruptions in Libya helped lift U.S. crude futures $1.14, or 2.4 percent, to $49.51 a barrel.

Canadian Natural Resources was the biggest lift on the Canadian stock index, rising 2.4 percent to C$43.86, followed by Suncor Energy, which was up 1.5 percent at C$42.05. The energy sector as a whole rose 2.2 percent.

Investors on Bay Street also shrugged off the official start of Britain's divorce from the European Union.

That suggests the market could be more resilient to geopolitical factors than had been anticipated after only a muted market response to U.S. Republican leaders pulling legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system last week, said Bryden Teich, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management in Toronto.

"There's more of a floor to the market than people had been giving credit to," Teich said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 59.06 points, or 0.38 percent, at 15,657.63. Of the index's 10 main groups, seven were in positive territory.   Continued...